JB hospital fire: Maintenance audit must be done periodically

IEMPETALING JAYA: A maintenance audit should be carried out on a periodic basis on all public buildings, the Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM) said today.

In a statement , IEM President Tan Yean Chin noted that hospitals may house an older electrical system which did not have the required safety features.

“One important safety feature that should be checked is whether there is proper earth-fault protection.

“This provides protection against electrical shock to patients as well as prevents electrical faults from being the ignition source of fires.

“It is of paramount importance for all building facilities and safety requirements to be inspected and maintained at regular scheduled intervals, equipment and devices are calibrated, and the safety system and procedures are in compliance with requirements and best practices.”

Tan was responding to news reports that a second fire had broken out at the Sultanah Aminah Hospital in Johor Bahru today, a day after a deadly fire left six dead and several injured.

He added that it was “crucial” for periodic checks, especially in cases where buildings are old and dilapidated.

“IEM is willing and ready to provide the technical expertise and independent advice to authorities in reviewing the guidelines required to prevent similar accidents from recurring.”

The fire at 1.30pm broke out at an operation theatre in the emergency and trauma ward on the first floor of the hospital.

Earlier today, it was reported that the Health Ministry would conduct an audit of all its hospitals on their state of preparedness in the event of a fire outbreak, starting with old hospitals.

Minister Dr S Subramaniam said the additional measure was necessary to avoid fire outbreaks such as the incidents at HSA today and yesterday.